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Find new ways to appraise and fund transport connectivity - new report

Lee Baker
07 September 2015

The Government needs to allow flexibility in appraising new transport proposals, taking account of demands for appraisals to consider their impact on economies, and not solely costs and benefits.

The report from PwC and the Smith Institute, Full Speed Ahead, draws on a series of roundtables that asked senior transport decision-makers how the sector could better connect cities and regions. It  concludes that a framework is needed for devolved decision-making, including who should be responsible for identifying and appraising schemes, and that a "context-specific" approach to appraisal is needed, given the "inevitable shift in responsibility for who will be carrying out appraisals and for what purpose".

In the workshops in cities including Leeds and Birmingham, the report says, there was "widespread recognition that existing approaches to appraising transport infrastructure had been useful when assessing marginal improvements to capacity funded by central Government, but are less suited the more transformational the projects are, and the more they are funded by bodies who are interested in metrics other than cost-benefit analyses". Many decision-makers are "increasingly interested in the impact of infrastructure on jobs and prices (of assets such as land and houses".

There was also a view that "progressive transport plannning must seek to integrate transport with local and city-region plans for jobs, housing and growth... The aim is not only to improve connectivity". The report concludes that "expectations are high and the mood in the city-regions is that transport planning is changing for the better" but that meeting future travel demand will require additional user charges or levies.

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